Thursday, 24 January 2008

An update with a touch of food poisoning

So we have been home a week and feeling a lot more relaxed. It's amazing how quickly the stress came back in just a few weeks in a more aggressive and negative environment. I really feel the UK is on a slippery slope. It is not a pleasant place to be for the average Joe. Anyhow, today is the first time I have been able to take stock. Heidi is at kindergarten and Miller is napping. Now I have sorted all the washing and cleaning that needs to be done after a trip I am thinking about updating my sites, filming yoga baby, writing my children's book, filming the teaser for our kids tv show and wondering how I am actually going to make any money to actually pay for things but hey ho!

Miller is starting kindergarten now and I took him for his first day on Monday. I stayed with him and we will build up to two days a week for now and see how it goes. The staff there were so fantastic about Millers diet. They even offered to shop for the items he would eat instead of me bringing them in. Wonderful! And his being there a little will give me time to figure out how the next few months will go and maybe I'll have time to do things like take a bath, have a cup of tea and browse the news sites. Probably not but the thought is there! More likely I will work work work...but at least I'll enjoy it, that's the best thing.

So I hope to bring you a higher quality of information in the near future but while you are waiting I just want to share the below snippet with you. Now, this is priceless! The site is called 'It's your health'...hmmm. Surely the answer at the bottom should simply be 'DON'T EAT IT!' Here goes!....


Food poisoning is caused by eating foods that are contaminated by some type of bacteria, such as Salmonella. It's not unusual for raw turkey and chicken to be contaminated. Other raw foods such as meat, fish, seafood, unpasteurized dairy products, raw shell eggs and products containing raw eggs can be a problem too.

Cooking food at high temperatures usually kills the bacteria contained in the food itself. However, that precaution doesn't help to control bacteria that may have spread to your refrigerator, counters or utensils while the food was being stored or prepared for cooking.

Minimizing Your Risk

It's not possible to tell if food is contaminated simply by looking at it. For that reason, it's best to treat all poultry and other raw meats as though they are contaminated.

Hmmm. Enjoy!

Saturday, 19 January 2008


So good to be back in Norway!

Miller has recovered well and is back to his cheeky self I am pleased to report. What a trip that was. 4 days in and one by one the family fell ill, we picked up the bug that has spread across the uk causing hospitals to close wards, a huge gap in the workplace etc. All the grandparents had it, all our friends had it, there was simply no escape! We had to wait until we were all clear before flying home so we were stuck in the UK for an extra week, making us miss the film festival here in Tromsø, yoga classes cancelled, Miller was due to start nursery school and we have had to delay that etc etc.. But it is soooo good to be home. The children slept better than they had in three weeks, I feel the difference in the air quality and missed our peaceful little house in our small village nestled in the mountains. I've had enough of smog, advertising hoardings, traffic jams, run down, uncared for places, constant noise and negative attitudes to last me some time!

As for the vegan life, well, I think it is easier here! I never thought I would say that but the options are so limited in the UK, maybe there are more actual foods to buy but you cannot find them. In a supermarket the size of our village here, how do you find the one or two items you are looking for, especially when the staff don't even know what the word vegan means? Even buying a vegan burger proved impossible, you say you are vegan and ask for a burger without cheese so they bring you one with mayo on instead, most sandwiches are pre-made so you cannot get a vegan sandwich made up for you, I didn't find one health shop to buy simple things like tofu, it was just very difficult.

Yet, yesterday I went to the local stores here and came back with everything I wanted. I guess what I am saying is that I have been ungrateful in my previous comments and take them all back! I don't mind driving to the health shop here, at least I am not stuck in traffic looking at boarded up buildings and miserable pedestrians! I also realised I can buy most whole foods here and that is what is important to keeping myself and my family healthy. All I found in supermarkets in the UK was veggie junk food. I tried certain things thinking I was treating myself and I found the majority were quite horrible, I had heard that Sheese was, sorry Sheese but I felt sick after eating it and can't talk about it any more as making me feel ill again at the memory. Maybe it is just that I do not like the taste of anything close to dairy now, who knows.

Being here in Norway makes me feel more alive and what could be better than that.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

It all goes quiet...

Just a brief blog entry to apologise for the absence! Miller has a virul infection and we have been looking after him. It started 4 days after our arrival in the UK and got serious when we had to monitor him in hospital a few days ago. He is recovering now but we are not allowed to fly with him yet so are stuck in limbo in an airport hotel! However, we have been treated to some delicious vegan food courtesy of a good chef! Will write more of our eventful trip later as still tending to our little angel now...But before I go, I had to remind myself I was in manchester UK and not Manchester US when walking around the terminals here...starbucks, garfunkels, tgi fridays..I haven't been gone that long....where did England go?....(not that it was much good in the first place!)

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Back in the UK and the vegan class struggle!

Happy New Year!

I hope you all enjoyed seeing in 2008. We are in Wales visiting Matthew's mum and it is the first time I have had time to write a post. It has been a hectic trip with mixed experiences and emotions. It is dificult coming from a slow pace of life to an accelerated one and daiy tensions here are high compared to what we are used to. However, the children are loving spending time with their grandparents and it has been great to catch up with friends here.

Since turning vegan I believed Norway offered limited food choices for us and I was convinced that the UK would have a better selection of vegan options. However, our experience has not backed up this view. The supermarkets we have visited here have little choice for us, especially considering thier size. I called in to one the other day, bearing in mind with two young childen you are on limited time on a supermarket visit, and could not find anything to have with bread as we were on the run and needed convenience, so I asked a shop assistant if they had a vegetarian section (this store was huge) and he said 'no, things are just scattered about'. We eventually found a bruschetta topping we could eat and that was that. I looked around the local town centre twice for a health food shop and all I found were two stores selling a range of alternative medicines and vitamins etc with not a food item in sight. In Norway, there is a heath food shop in every town I have visited and although the selection is limited, you can at least get what you need.

One highlight to our visit so far was a trip to see Manchester United on New Years Day. The football match was a little boring but the experience was fabulous. Matthew's uncle has executive seats and we were treated to lunch in the bar. Out of four dishes available at the buffet, two were vegetarian and one was vegan. We were so pleased that this was now considered normal. It sparked a conversation between Matthew and I on the way out as we were walking back to the car. We were walking past row on row of cheap mobile food outlets selling all sorts of disgusting meat produce. Burgers, hot dogs (one boasting a 2 foot long hot dog), nuggets, pies, lamb pittas, chicken curry, steak and kidney puddings...... The stench of cooked animals was so foul it nearly made me sick at one point yet there people were, stuffing their faces with this rubbish. We on the other hand had enjoyed a lovely vegan lunch in the executive box. We felt there was a class difference here somewhere. I'm not very good at wording arguments but I will try and phrase this in a way I know...

Those people living in what would have previously been called the lower class are likely to be less well educated about a variety of things including food choices. People who may not be aware of what is in their food quite happily consume cheap meat options like those mentioned above. These folk may not be aware that they could be eating a selecton of things that no butcher wants, that are the dregs of the meat processing industry, may not be aware that the slab of meat might contain a whole host of bacteria, might lead to their life being shortened if this eating pattern is repeated day after day. I believe that food choice and knowledge about it is a class struggle and I would like to see more education about food and lifestyle across the board.

Not the most profound thing ever said but worth mentioning I think. So back to the trip. We found a small health shop in Pwllheli where we are staying now, funnily enough a small place like this has the options the large town we just came from did not, and we have a selection of new items to try. I am looking forward to tasting 'sheeese' which I have read is excellent, we chose a mozzerella alternative so might try pizza and we also picked up some organic dark chocolate and some firm favourites like tofutti spread. Matthews mum has a cupboard full of vegan options for us and the children and my mum did well with a few things but got lost in labelling with other things which means they now have a lot to eat in the fridge!

Heidi and Miller have coped well with the change of pace, better than we have actually, and I fear they will be bored on our return to the Arctic. Still, nothing could keep me from returning to the home we love!

I don't know when I will next get time to post but wishing you all the best for 2008!

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